1 You are what you eat – we run with what we put in it. If it’s processed junk food, our health reflects it. Reduce fatty foods and red meat, increase fiber and fruits and vegetables. That’s not to say we can never enjoy a treat, but there has to be a balance.
2 An obesity pandemic – 28% of adults in England are obese, 36% overweight. The consequences of being dangerously overweight are vast. An increased risk of cancer is one of them, as are serious heart and joint problems.
3 healthy habits – Getting in shape doesn’t happen by accident. Studies show a decreased risk of cancer for those who exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be a half marathon or 90 minutes of football. Trick ? Walk, walk and walk some more. A massively underrated, free and accessible form of exercise. A dog can help you as a trainer.
4 Moderation – alcohol from time to time does not hurt. But constant and excessive consumption puts your body under extreme pressure, especially the liver. I’m not suggesting you cut it, just slow down and use common sense.
5 Less Worrying – the world is full of worries that we cannot change. Focus on what you can control. Stress can do horrible things. It can gnaw at a person in ways we don’t fully understand. Stress is a poison so anything you can do to reduce it will only be positive.
6 Enjoying the sun safely – Being in the fresh air is great for your health and I fully encourage it, but when the sun is strong, take the necessary precautions. Cover exposed skin or use sunscreen – skin cancer is a horrible disease. Solar radiation damages cells.
7 Safe sex ‑ a delicate subject but ignoring it only makes the situation worse. Certain sexually transmitted infections play a huge role in the development of cancer, especially in women. It can affect the ability to bear a child and give birth. If you have sex with multiple partners, take precautions by using barrier contraception.
8 Smoking kills – most of the advice is ambiguous and the risks are not always clear. No smoking. It can cause cancer anywhere and releases harmful chemicals into your body and into the air. I have treated several heavy smokers for an entirely preventable disease.
9 Early diagnosis – sometimes it is not possible to prevent cancer, but we can stop its growth if we catch it early. Screening allows us to approach it at stage one or two, with much higher chances of survival and less complicated treatment.
10 Perhaps Most Important – if you have worrying and persistent symptoms, get yourself checked. Symptoms are diverse, but usually they persist over time and get worse. There are up to 90,000 “missing cancer patients – make sure you’re not one”.